Immigration Service criticised for treatment of asylum children

Immigration Service acknowledges it should do more to help child asylum seekers find their families

The immigration service has not been helping child asylum seekers find their families as they are legally obligated to. (File photo: Colourbox)

The Immigration Service's treatment of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum was criticised by the parliamentary ombudsman, who claims the service is not living up to its legal obligations. 

The criticism arrives after a complaint involving a 16-year-old Iraqi boy, who was told by the Immigration Service in 2008 that he would have to find his family members himself, and was referred him to the Red Cross for help in finding them.

Legally, it is the job of the Immigration Service to find the family members of unaccompanied minors, but the case revealed that the service had not been doing so for several years.

"Immigration law is very precise on this point," parliamentary ombudsman Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen wrote in a statement. "Children who arrive in Denmark alone must have help finding their families, and it must happen as soon as possible after their arrival. It is regrettable that this has not been happening."

The Immigration Service has argued that they thought it was sufficient to refer the child to the International Red Cross to help the child find their family. According to metroXpress newspaper, the service now recognises that this is not sufficient.

"We can't just leave the investigation up to the global investigating service that the Red Cross offers like we used to," Jakon Dam Glynstrup from the Immigration Service wrote in an email to Ritzau. "We have now taken on the responsibility and will co-operate with the Foreign Ministry and the International Organisation for Migration to help with the practical side of investigations."

MetroXpress writes that the Immigration Service could not reveal in how many cases the service did not perform their own independent investigations.(


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